At Your Local Library

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The homepage of a new website created by Rachel Black, a recent graduate of the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science. The website’s URL is: https://atyourlocallibraryblog.wordpress.com

 

 

There’s a new website in town, and we think you should know about it!

Rachel Black, a recent graduate of the University of Iowa School of Library & Information Science, has started a new local website project.

“I started a website, called “At Your Local Library,” which I wanted to use to kind of, challenge perceptions of librarians and libraries. When I was doing my research, I realized that a lot of people just don’t see their library as an active agent in their community.” -Rachel Black, 2016

Rachel describes how she got her inspiration for the website from the well known website called “Humans of New York,” and how that type of approach could be used to introduce the community to their local libraries, and more specifically, to the people who work within them.

“I really wanted this site to reach people who don’t really think about their libraries, who aren’t already passionate about them, or don’t realize what a great resource they are.” -Rachel Black, 2016

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To gather content for the website, Rachel conducted and transcribed interviews with librarians in the state of Iowa, releasing each interview to the public in segments that gradually reveal how that librarian and their library benefit their local community.

“I wanted the post to be something that the librarian who was talking to me was passionate about. At the end of the day, what is their message? I would take these themes that kept cropping up, and I would try to create an overall story.” -Rachel Black, 2016

In this podcast, Rachel also speaks on some of the logistics involved in putting together a project like this and presenting it to the Library and Information Science faculty. Rachel hopes to one day obtain funding that will allow her to continue this site in the future.

Check out the At Your Local Library website or follow the project on Facebook.

2017 Iowa Library Association Conference, part 2

 

What do you get when you combine students and professional librarians in one space for a couple days? The Iowa Library Association annual conference!

For this episode of B Sides, we meet with a couple University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science students who attended the 2016 Iowa Library Association Conference, which was held in Dubuque, Iowa in October. The ILA Annual Conference is “a unique opportunity to engage with our colleagues from around the state, participate in and glean new ideas from conference sessions, and build and broaden our professional expertise.” (ILA 2016 Conference Program)

Despite not being able to stay for the entire conference, second-year students Emily Friend and Beth Paul were able to attend a variety of sessions: from talks about board game collections and copyright to discussions focused on outreach for children.

“I went to five different programs – I went to a weeding one, one about summer reading for children, programming ideas for Tweens, an outreach one, and one about forming a book club for boys.” -Emily Friend, 2016

There, Emily and Beth learned that sometimes, conferences don’t always provide you with defined answers. As the library expands its resources and services, there aren’t always standards or best practices for integrating it into the workflow.

“She said at the end [of the session]: ‘there’s no right answer; do whatever works for your library. Go ahead and get these items in your collection, because it’s something that patrons are really using and excited to get from their library. And just do what’s right for your library with regards to cataloging it.’” -Beth Paul, 2016

Librarians for social justice

In the midst of a divided society and a controversial political climate, what role do libraries play, and what responsibilities do librarians have to their patrons and collections? In this episode, we chat with Bekah Walker, John Fifield, and Alonso Avila, members of the University of Iowa’s Librarians for Social Justice group, about what social justice is and what it should look like within the library profession and among evolving community values.

“There’s a difference between neutrality and equality, and I think that’s something we need to look at as librarians. […] We as librarians have to hold ourselves accountable to upholding these values of equality.” -John Fifield, 2016

“You shouldn’t have to be neutral and not be advocating for the people that don’t have access to the things that other people do.” -Bekah Walker, 2016

“Through that [the election] people have started to become more aware and realize that we need to work towards building those bridges between communities that we may not have had contacted or connected with previously. So this is pushing us into areas that we need to be in, in order to start affecting change.” -Alonso Avila, 2016

Bekah, John, and Alonso also update us on the current activities of the Librarians for Social Justice group. On an ongoing basis, group members volunteer at the Anchor Center, which  is a prison transitional facility in Cedar Rapids.

In addition, the Librarians for Social Justice group will also hold their annual fundraiser, the Book Brunch, from 10am-12pm on Saturday December 3rd, at Public Space One in Iowa City, Iowa. For $5, attendees will receive a delicious brunch and have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction. Donations of books and crafts prizes for the silent auction will be accepted until Friday December 2nd. Proceeds of the silent auction and the breakfast will benefit The Lisa Libraries. We hope to see you there!

If you have questions about the Librarians for Social Justice group, their fundraiser, or are interested in joining their email list, you can contact them at libs.social.justice@gmail.com.

2017 Iowa Library Association Conference, part 1

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The 2016 Iowa Library Association Annual Conference logo.

 

For this episode of B Sides, we meet with a couple University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science students who attended the 2016 Iowa Library Association Conference, which was held in Dubuque, Iowa in October.

The ILA Annual Conference is “a unique opportunity to engage with our colleagues from around the state, participate in and glean new ideas from conference sessions, and build and broaden our professional expertise.” (ILA 2016 Conference Program)

Second year students Laura Sauser and Shari Neal share with us why they decided to go to the conference and why they recommend others attend.

“For me, coming to library school is looking at a career change for myself. I’m going to school and getting the foundational classes; I’m also working at a public library. We walked in with some technical expertise and this [conference] made it more real-life.” -Laura Sauser, 2016

For Shari and Laura, the ILA conference was a opportunity to practice advocacy and build networks with potential future colleagues and employers. It was also an opportunity for them to learn about current issues and glean inspiration from practicing librarians throughout the state; inspiration they could potentially walk away and immediately use in their own jobs.

“It’s interesting to know what the issues, and what’s coming up…what’s trending in libraries. […] She [the speaker from St. Ambrose) talked about how to educate undergraduates to handle archives and primary sources. It was a CSI course that she had set up with artifacts and crimes [that had been committed unto them].” -Shari Neal, 2016

 

Interning at the National September 11th Memorial & Museum

Rebekah Walker, a Master’s degree candidate in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa, speaks to us about her summer interning at the National September 11th Memorial & Museum, located at the World Trade Center site in New York City.

A lifetime lover of museums, Bekah saw an opportunity to spend her last summer of freedom working in an unforgettable location, and she took it.

“I think that my specific feelings and passion about that museum helped separate my application.” -Bekah Walker, 2016

In this episode, Bekah discusses her experience applying for summer internships, her duties on the job, and the power of objects and museums to bring people around the world together.

“They say that the museum is just as much about 9/12 as it is about 9/11. It’s about how society has changed as a result of the attacks[…], so they really do try to relate the museum’s exhibitions to other things that are happening.”  -Bekah Walker, 2016

This summer, Bekah wrote a talk called Letters from Ground Zero. She gave the talk internally in August, but this coming spring she will return to New York to deliver it to the public.

“Everyone knows what it’s like to get a piece of mail, to get it from someone in your family. You see mail around and most people don’t really think about it because it’s so commonplace. But in this case it really represents something that is more meaningful and could form a deep connection between people.”  -Bekah Walker, 2016

Introducing the B Sides Podcast!

Welcome to the first episode of the B Sides Podcast, a podcast that explores the eclectic and evolving world of Library and Information Science, hosted by members of the School of Library and Information Science and the University of Iowa.

In this episode, student producers Bethany Kluender and Katie Gandhi and faculty advisor Lindsay Mattock talk about how B Sides got started, why it has evolved to a podcast, what it is, and how you can participate.

“There are lots of different ways in which you can contribute to the podcast, whether it’s just contributing your ideas, or actually serving as a panelist, in any [number] of forms.” –Lindsay Mattock, 2016

Although right now we just study to obtain our Master’s degrees in Library and Information Science, one day we will be practitioners in the field. Our time in graduate school is full of valuable opportunities for learning, teaching, exploring, and questioning.

“One of our goals here is to capture a diversity of experience and position.” -Bethany Kluender, 2016

This podcast serves to capture some of this insight to both help inform those that follow us and to allow us to learn from each other now, in an effort to enrich our professional and personal lives and make us all better librarians in the future.